Stockholm Open: Marvellous Monfils wins 12th career title

Gael Monfils outlasted Pavel Kotov in the Stockholm Open final on Sunday, becoming the tournament’s oldest champion

BNP Paribas Nordic Open •Final • completed
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Gael Monfils won the Stockholm Open trophy by beating Pavel Kotov 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-3 at the Kungliga Tennishallen on Sunday.

The title is Monfils’ 12th career trophy, having first won an ATP tournament in August 2005. The Frenchman also becomes the oldest ever champion at the Stockholm Open at age 37.

In a match that was played at the highest of levels, the Stockholm crowd were treated to an absolute spectacle across three fantastic sets of tennis. While qualifier Kotov made a strong start and looked to be on track to win his seventh match in a row this week, it was No 140 Monfils who had more gas in the tank and ultimately claimed the victory.

Monfils outlasts Kotov to win Stockholm Open title

Despite having played six matches to reach the final – two less than Monfils – Kotov began the Stockholm Open final like a man on a mission. Breaking the Frenchman in just the third game, the Russian qualifier quickly grabbed the ascendancy in this match.

After several holds of serve, Kotov looked to have dealt the knockout blow in the first set when he broke Monfils again for 5-2. However, nerves struck and Monfils was able to grab a break back, tightening the set up to 5-4. Serving for the set a second time Kotov was more composed, taking the opening stanza 6-4.

The match then remained on serve for the duration of the second set, with 37-year-old Monfils showing impressive fitness late in the tiebreak to claim it 8-6 and force a deciding set. Here, Kotov noticeably began to fade, with what was a very competitive match beginning to swing in Monfils’ favour.

A break in the first game of the final set saw the Frenchman grab control, adding a second to go up 5-2. Kotov gained one break back, but was unable to withstand Monfils’ power hitting and spot serving, falling 6-3 in the third.

“To be honest, I don’t really know how I pulled it off. I just keep believing and keep fighting,” said Monfils after the match. “Credit to Pavel, he’s playing unbelievable, had a great week. He was pushing me, pushing me.”

The win caps off a strong week for Monfils, where he defeated Hungarian Marton Fucsovics (2-6, 6-2, 7-5), Austrian qualifier Filip Misolic (6-4, 6-3), second seed Adrian Mannarino (7-5, 7-6 (3)) and Serb Laslo Djere (7-5, 6-2).

Kotov, ranked No 109, defeated American Christopher Eubanks, the No 7 seed (6-7 (2), 6-3, 7-6 (5)), Italian Lorenzo Sonego (6-4, 7-5), Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor, the No 3 seed (7-6 (4), 6-2) and Serb Miomir Kecmanovic (6-3, 6-4) earlier in the tournament.

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